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Sunday, December 18, 2011

End of the Year Thoughts

Hello, Dear Friends!  It has been much too long - my apologies for being out of touch!!

What have I been doing?  Clearing out.  After almost 6 years in our new house and having 3 sons, we accumulated a lot of stuff.  When I look around, I wonder how it is possible that we have so much stuff, most of which we don't need and the things that bother me the most are the things that I'm sure nobody needs:  useless plastic.  Toys that were given out at class parties that broke within days and now sit in a box, waiting for a creative reuse opportunity.  The only problem is that the box is now overflowing and nobody seems overly eager to make a plastic creation that will ultimately end up in the landfill or one of our oceans.

Straws and plastic lids....when I finally came to my senses and decided to stop doing fast food, we had a few slips along the way.  But I couldn't bare to throw the straws and lids away, so they also went in a box.  The straws make great construction toys and we've made lots of straw buildings and more, but now what?

I always had a hard time throwing things away, but now I really struggle because I know where it will go.  There is no away.  So I am taking my time.  Clearing out.  Clearing my mind.  Being very careful about what I bring in, because it will eventually have to go out again.

The other day, a friend called me to ask if I knew where we could recycle DVD players.  Yep, I do.  I said I'd take it since I have been given others and I will be making a trip there soon.  She said her daughters were getting a new one for Christmas.  I looked at the personal DVD player staring at me in perfect condition.  For the heck of it, I plugged it in.  It is in perfect working condition!  It will now be a Christmas present for my sons.  This friend is one of my biggest Terracyclers and I'm so thrilled that she wanted to recycle the DVD player, but I'm sad that she didn't think of giving it a new life first.  I know we live in a 'throw-away' society, but we need to turn this around!

Yesterday, I celebrated my grandfather's 95th birthday with him.  He is the kind of guy who will tape his glass frames until they can't be taped anymore.  His trash can is a milk carton that he keeps near his sink.  It rarely gets full in a week.  When things break, he fixes them.  If he doesn't need it, he doesn't buy it.

Which brings us to the topic of 'need'.  This week, I saw a picture that summed up some things that I've been thinking about a lot this season:
(I found this online from Pastor Kevin Stowe, but am not sure of the original creator).

My husband was telling me we don't have anything exciting to put under the tree this year for our sons.  To me, that IS exciting, because what we have to give them is exactly what they need:  our time, our care, our love, our example.

Why have we become a society of people who 'need' so much?

When we think about what we truly need, we often find that we can have it in abundance if we just care enough to see it.

I think it's safe to say that almost all of us could give up some physical gift this holiday season.  We could give up the money spent on gas, tolls, time spent in line, impatience and rudeness toward others from overcrowding at stores, etc.  Instead, we could join together in love and peace and help heal the world.  I guess to a lot of people, that sounds like a fantasy.  We are the creators of our reality.  Together we can make a difference. 

I wish you peace, love and joy this holiday season and into the new year!


  1. Thanks, Kate! I make lanterns out of up-cycled cans (you can find my facebook page, if you do that, and 'like' it!: '#10 Can Lantern Co.') and everyone that is getting a present this year is more than likely getting a can lantern! Take that, plastic crap, throw-away, society!
    Happy holidays, and keep writing!


  2. Kate,
    Thank you for reminders that keep me on the right track in the world of reusing and are my inspiration all the way!
    We don't need all of this "stuff" that businesses think we need. We are downsizing to a home 1/3 the size of our present home and we are realizing that all the "stuff" in our home was just to fill it so it didn't look empty, but we don't need it. I can't wait to start our retirement years with "less", which will be so much "more" to us.
    Keep your ideas and inspiration coming!
    Mom (Dolly) :)